Employers are required to provide a safe workplace. The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Canada has this requirement set out
Duties of employers
25. (1) An employer shall ensure that,
(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace;
(2) Without limiting the strict duty imposed by subsection (1), an employer shall,
(h) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker…
Ontario Power Generation Inc. violated this requirement, and a worker was injured by burns from an arc flash. The company pleaded guilty and was fined $100,000. The conviction was under OHSA, Section 25(2)(h).
This is the description of what happened from the government website.
“On January 15, 2008, two maintenance workers at the company’s Atikokan operating station were called to examine some malfunctioning equipment. The equipment was locked in a chamber to protect workers from its electrically energized, moving apparatus. A lockout system required equipment to be electrically de-energized, grounded and locked out before the chamber could open. An equipment operator used a bypass key to circumvent the lockout system and open a hatch door while the equipment was still energized. One of the workers shone a flashlight into the open door, causing an arc flash of electricity. The arc flash burned the worker’s hand, arm and chest.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the key used to bypass the lockout system was available to workers.
Ontario Power Generation Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable precaution of preventing ready access to the means of circumventing the lockout system.”
Based on the description, it seems that the company did not enforce a safety rule of not bypassing the lockout without adequate supervision. Perhaps a supervisor standing by would have prevented using the flashlight, and the electrical injury on the job would have been prevented. For more information about employer’s safety duties see construction accident injuries.
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